Audiences around the world are invited to experience highlights of The Arts Center at NYUAD’s performance archives, as it launches an online streaming series in an effort to bridge physical distancing efforts while supporting the UAE’s #StayHome message. Under the name Reconnect., The Arts Center at NYUAD will stream shows from past seasons on Wednesdays via its Facebook page, kicking off on April Fools Day with comedian Maysoon Zayid on Wednesday, April 1 at 8pm (GST GMT+4).
The performances, streamed online for free through The Arts Center’s Facebook page, create an opportunity for people to come together in a real-time virtual space to be inspired, connected, and stimulated while maintaining social distancing. Audiences will be able to watch compelling performances from The Arts Center’s first five years as well as chat, share thoughts, and interact with the artists themselves.
Reconnect. is inspired by The Arts Center’s fifth season theme of Connection, highlighting the power of the arts to bring people together, and fulfills The Art Center’s mission to provide a platform to foster creativity and create a sense of community, in the physical or virtual space.
Executive Artistic Director of The Arts Center at NYUAD Bill Bragin said: “More than ever, people crave platforms for the arts as a means to spark conversation, to build community, and to inspire. Even as a nearly infinite amount of content is available for on-demand viewing, there’s something special about the act of connecting as a community, together, in real-time. We realized that The Arts Center could help fill this need in an online space, while digging into our archives of amazing performances, many of which haven’t been seen since they originally took place. We’re especially grateful to the artists who have agreed to let us share these archival videos at a time when staying connected has never been more challenging, or more important.”
Reconnect. begins on Wednesday, April 1 with Maysoon Zayid’s hilarious stand-up comedy. Maysoon Zayid is an actress, comedian, writer, and disability advocate. She is a graduate of and a Guest Comedian in Residence at Arizona State University. Maysoon is the co-founder/co-executive producer of the New York Arab American Comedy Festival and The Muslim Funny Fest. She was a full-time On Air Contributor to Countdown with Keith Olbermann and a columnist for The Daily Beast. She has most recently appeared on Oprah Winfrey Networks In Deep Shift, 60 Minutes, and ABC News. Maysoon had the most viewed TED Talk of 2014 and was named 1 of 100 Women of 2015 by BBC. Maysoon herself will join the event with a live-streamed post-show Q&A, moderated by Alana Barraj, who oversaw this performance in her former role as Senior Producer from The Arts Center.
The additional events in the initial Reconnect. lineup are as follows:
47SOUL – Wednesday, April 8 at 8pm (GST GMT+4)
Revisit 47SOUL’s Electro Arabic Dabke (Shamstep) sound on Wednesday, April 8 at 8pm. Relive every moment of their upbeat, danceable UAE debut at The Arts Center’s at Barzakh Festival in a concert that keeps you moving until the very last beat. The online show features 47SOUL’s former quartet line-up: Z the People (vocals & synths), El Far3i (darbouka, MC/Vocals), Walaa Sbeit (percussion, MC/vocals), and El Jehaz (guitar & vocals).
47SOUL is an Electro Arabic Dabke (Shamstep) band formed in Jordan in 2013. The four members of the band are rooted in Bilad Al-Sham, spanning the divides from Amman to the Galilee to Ramallah and the rest of the Palestinian Diaspora. 47SOUL’s lyrics, mixes Arabic and English, call for celebration and freedom in the struggle for equality, inside Bilad Al Sham and throughout the world.
Cuban-Khaleeji Project – Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra + Yazz Ahmed + Boom.Diwan + Malika Zarra + Ali Obaid – Wednesday, April 15 at 8pm (GST GMT+4)
Presented in partnership with The Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development
Revisit the Cuban-Khaleeji Project, a one of a kind musical journey exploring the traditions and sounds of seafaring cultures from the Gulf and North Africa to Cuba, on Wednesday, April 15 at 8pm. The Cuban-Khaleeji Project was a world premiere collaboration commissioned by The Arts Center, weaving together the music of the Khaleeji people, the Middle East, Spain, Morocco, and Cuba.
The Cuban-Khaleeji Project was led by pianist, composer, director, and six-time Grammy-award winner Arturo O’Farrill, 18 piece Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, as well as the special guests British-Bahraini trumpet player and composer Yazz Ahmed, Kuwaiti-UAE global jazz ensemble Boom.Diwan, Moroccan-French singer, composer, and producer Malika Zarra, and Emirati oudist Ali Obaid.
Given the incredible global challenge facing our families, colleagues and organizations due to COVID-19, many cultural spaces, institutions and museums had to close their doors to practice social distancing and avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus. As an organization that is constantly looking at ways to promote and support local creative talent, the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development initiated the #CultureUpFront hashtag on social media channels to allow creative spaces to continue their dynamic programming, but rethink of ways to bring it to the audience worldwide that are now, more than ever, present online.